The 6th Annual Tallinn Conference on the Eastern Partnership


Swissôtel, Tallinn, Estonia

Common Challenges, Common Solutions: The Past, Present, and Future of the Eastern Partnership


The 6th annual Tallinn Conference on the Eastern Partnership will take place on Friday, February 8, 2019. Organized by the Estonian Center of Eastern Partnership in cooperation with the  European Commission Representation in Tallinn, and marking the tenth anniversary of the EU’s Eastern Partnership initiative, the one-day event will be held at the Swissôtel Tallinn.

Ten years ago, the Eastern Partnership was launched at the historic Prague Summit. Over the past decade, it has resulted in many achievements in the face of a challenging geopolitical and economic context. To evaluate these achievements and take stock of current progress – while looking forward to how the relationship between the EU and the partner countries can develop and progress after 2020 – we will gather a select group of high-level representatives of all three parties involved in the initiative: EU institutions, Member States, and partner countries alike. Incorporating a wide range of perspectives from key stakeholders, the conference will also look in more detail at some topics in which the continuing challenges – and the level of fruitful cooperation – are most acute: fighting corruption and developing local media.


8 February 2019


8:30                 Registration and coffee

9:00                 Introduction and welcome words

9:10                 Opening remarks      

9:30                Panel 1: A Decade of Evolution: Evaluating The Past Ten Years of the EaP

Since its beginnings as a joint Polish-Swedish initiative in 2009, the Eastern Partnership has clearly broadened and grown over the ensuing decade. But has it accomplished its objectives in putting the region more squarely on a path towards European integration, or has its impact been only incremental in nature? Considering accomplishments such as the visa liberalization/facilitation and AA/DCFTA agreements, panelists will assess the level of performance and relevance of the EaP to date.

11:00               Coffee break

11:30               Parallel panels

From the outset, the EaP initiative has sought to promote lasting political and economic reforms as well as respect for the rule of law in partner countries in order not only to foster deeper integration, but to improve the lives of citizens in EU and EaP nations alike. To this end, two areas have proven to be uniquely stubborn obstacles – and accordingly, presented opportunities for Estonia and other EU member states to share their experience and expertise in overcoming them: developing regional media and fighting corruption.

 2a: Europe Begins at Home: Developing Regional Media in EaP Countries

If a barrier to trade falls in the forest – for example, between Ukraine and Poland—and no one knows about it, does it really make a sound?  The AA/DCFTA agreements and overall increases in EU attention and funding to the Eastern Partnership countries have undeniably brought with them significant benefits – but so long as the focus is primarily on national capitals and on younger, educated, English-speaking people, the full potential of these initiatives will likely never be reached. Accordingly, ECEAP and its partners have worked together to increase the capacity and ensure the continued development of regional media sources – the most trusted by average people, and the channels most able to explain and communicate the benefits of European integration. What have the specific challenges to date been on this effort, and how can Estonia and other Western countries continue this cooperation most effectively?

2b: Securing Democracy: Fighting Corruption in EaP Countries

By seeping into every aspect of public life, corruption is not merely an issue of domestic politics, but presents a fundamental threat to national security and prosperity of countries both inside and outside the EU. Affecting everything from how neighborhoods are protected and borders secured to how criminals are punished and roads and schools constructed, corruption is a uniquely important challenge given its ability to undermine a country’s very statehood from within. With its partners, Estonia has worked to increase the effectiveness of anti-corruption measures; but what can be done in the future, especially to overcome pervasive myths and influence public attitudes?  

13:00              Lunch

14:00              3: What Lies Ahead: The Future of the EaP after 2020

In recent years, the focus on tangible deliverables with concrete impact on the lives of citizens both in the EU and in the partner countries in the multilateral track – combined with a renewed focus on concluding or implementing bilateral agreements – has led to considerable advancements in the structure and impact of the Eastern Partnership. But what lies ahead after 2020? Are more changes to the institutional structure of the EaP needed, or do the best possibilities for viable future cooperation lie elsewhere?

15:30              Conclusions and Closing Remarks

16:00              Farewell & Departure